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Doctors applying for medical jobs: Here are some free interview tips!
Do's and Don'ts
Your application form has two types of questions- Information based and Competency based.
Both types of questions need meticulous preparation, so gather information in your portfolio whenever possible and always keep it up to date. The key to answer every question is to be confident in your responses and to promote yourself positively. Your initial aim is to obtain that all important interview call! Obviously false information and/or plagiarism are never acceptable.
As it is getting closer to the application time, it is too short too short for 'Preparation, Preparation and Preparation' !!; but delve deep into your memory to collect variety of information and jot them down. Always check against ' Person specification, Person specification and Person specification' !!.
Next it is important to classify your skills and experiences into a template of skills you are competent and/or love using, skills you are reasonably competent and enjoy doing. Lastly skills or aspects you don't see yourself doing. These skills need to be analysed in detail and need to be reflected upon to know whether it was a success.
Examples include- Team work- mentioning that you were a part of the cancer MDT is not enough, you need to detail your role - e.g.: implementer, how you communicated with the rest of the team members, whether patient had the necessary investigation and treatment by 14/31/62 day targets etc. What feedback you received and how you reflected on it.
Case discussion at 'Journal Clubs' or other ' multi- disciplinary meetings' ( Radiology/Surgery/Histopathology/relevant medical specialty etc); how well you explained your case to other team members - this might be intimidating, how you explained the therapeutic options and the treatment given, how well you with stood the challenge by other members about your management and how you employed evidence based medicine, what kind of feedback you received, your reflection, the learning experience associated with it etc.
Make a list of words which portray a positive impression, they are commonly referred as 'action words'. For example analysed, designed, developed, efficient, economical, managed, successful etc. Thesaurus might be useful, but don't go overboard on it. Try not to use big words and complex sentences, ensure there is good and consistent flow in your responses.
Please stick to the maximum word count allowed, you would create bad impression by not sticking to the word limit, spelling mistakes, change in font styles and size. CV's are not usually preferred, but that is not a disadvantage. You would have section in the application form for personal statement, which you can add any additional information not already mentioned elsewhere.
Most of these do sound common sense, but you need to ensure that you are not carried away by the stress associated with application.
Competency based questions are looking into how you managed a situation and more crucially whether you reflected on that experience and how you learnt from it. Hence it is important to understand various learning styles, individualise your response, and concentrate on personal outcomes. The focus must be on the positive learning experience form it rather than the actual experience/situation itself.
Many tricks help here, using 'action words', 'STAR' method of responding (Situation, Task, Action and Result/Reflection), 'Role playing' as the selector/Interviewer, feedback from multiple sources linked to that situation etc.
Always convert your responses into 'passive' and 'active' format, see what impact it has when you read your responses as a selector in an active format.
Role-playing as a selector is again crucial. When you read an application form as a selector you would not be impressed with repeat of the same examples, phrases and verbs, boring task oriented responses, not being creative or portraying positive aspects without insight or learning associated with it etc. Do not create disastrous situation or even worse false situations in an effort to 'stand out' from others. Do not skim the specifics (when, where etc), as this makes your responses more credible. Be aware of the GMC 'Good medical practice' and apply them as often as possible.
We have experts who have been involved with the MMC application and selection process for a long time and will advice on your application. Please see contact us section.